Niranjan’s contribution to Mint newspaper and financial media should be appreciated

This post is a farewell to Niranjan Rajadhyaksha, the executive editor of Mint who writes an amazing column named Café Economics. Niranjan is quitting Mint and moving onto IDFC Institute. This is quite a catch for IDFC Institute and an absolute loss for Mint.

On a fine morning almost ten years ago (1-Sep-2018 to be exact), an e-mail popped-up in my account from someone introducing himself as an “editor of the editorial section” (I learnt of this role distinction only then) of the Mint newspaper, which was launched recently. To my surprise, he told me that he has been reading my blog and wondered whether I would be interested in writing for the paper? I could barely believe the email and thought it to be some prank of sorts. Why would an editor of a newspaper ask a random researcher to write for his paper on reading a mere random blog? I immediately met him to ensure the email was real and not a prank! Having confirmed it was real, I managed to write a few pieces for the newspaper. The Mint articles which I wrote got me a lot of visibility.

This editor was none other than Niranjan who then became a good friend and well-wisher over the years. He has always been highly courteous and warm in all our discussions and meetings, making the whole relationship even better.

It was not just me but have noted how Mint has such a wide pool of op-ed contributors (ensuring I am always in the wait list!). I would hypothesise that Niranjan has been central to their writing as well. Mint has mushroomed into a wonderful financial daily as it has really encouraged a lot of fresh ideas over the years. Its op-eds are also being used as academic references, which is an amazing achievement, given the paper is barely eleven years old.

Niranjan has been an inspiration with his writing as well. He has a knack for picking up complex economic issues and explaining it with the élan like only he can. What also stands out is his understanding and appreciation of economic history, which is so rare in most economists, leave those that do economic journalism.  His articles blend history and current economic thinking brilliantly giving you a much wider perspective.

In the few meetings I had with him, I would mention the new research/ideas I have been following and so on. He would listen patiently and then tell me, but all these ideas are old and give you names of economists who worked on these ideas earlier. He once told me Institute of New Economic Thinking set up George Soros is actually, ‘Institute of Old Economic Thinking’. One could only agree to this seeing the research work produced by INET.

Even his recent piece in Mint was telling us how people in recent Jackson Hole Symposium were basically discussing Kalecki’s ideas!  As Prof. James Mirrless passed away recently, Niranjan remined us that intellectual roots of GST go back to papers written by Mirrless and Diamond in 1970s. He even goes beyond well-known names as seen in his article on Chinese economists that shaped the post-1978 economics revolution in the country. There is always some new economist, some new economics theory/idea, some new  economics blog to learn about when you meet him.

He also shows how one can still put his economic arguments without really taking a political side, which also is getting increasingly difficult in this post-truth era.  His fan following on Twitter is a testimony to his popularity with all kinds of economics folks.

As a student of history of organisations and sectors, I have often read how we ignore the contributions of certain individuals with much credit only going to founders. This is more so in case of newspapers which have so many editors and writers. One just hopes that if Mint’s history is written sometime in future, Niranjan’s contribution in building the paper is acknowledged.

As Niranjan moves to greener pastures, I wish him all the best. He has tweeted saying he will continue writing his Café Economics column. This is great news, as we will continue to learn about economics and lost economists. However, it is going to be tough times for people like me who were encouraged and supported by him. We have to wait for similar emails from other newspaper editors as Niranjan did all this, doing both, building the Mint newspaper and promoting several economists as well.

 

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2 Responses to “Niranjan’s contribution to Mint newspaper and financial media should be appreciated”

  1. Anantha Nageswaran Says:

    Nice one

  2. Links for 18th September, 2018 – economics for everybody Says:

    […] blogger I greatly admire, writing about an editor I admire even […]

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